In Rebecca Eanes’ latest book – The Positive Parenting Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Strengthening Emotional Connection – she writes some advice I wholeheartedly agree with:
While it’s tempting to point fingers at our kids, our spouse, or others for the challenges we’re facing at home, it’s essential to take a step back and examine ourselves – our past, our ‘baggage,’ our own thoughts and feelings – to recognize the role that we’re playing and how we can change it. What happened to us and, perhaps more importantly, how we perceive what happened to us plays a role in how we interact with our family members today. (page 17)
It’s not always easy to see our own role in the problems that we think other people have, but ignoring our influence is counter-productive to improving our reality. If we have our head in the sand, we will never notice what is really going on and therefore we will be unlikely able to affect it. It may be hard or uncomfortable to face the truth, however it is necessary to move ahead.
As parents, when we recognize and take ownership of our part to play in the discomfort, the discord and the frustration in family life, we are able to find ways to change our mindset or actions and, as a result, move forward towards alleviating some of the negativity.
Below are five questions that are useful to spend some time thinking about, if you are working on examining your personal role in challenges at home. It can be beneficial to reflect on these questions every night for a week, writing your reflections, and then at the end of the week you can see all the different answers you come up with. After you have a good understanding of where you want to make a change, you will be able to create an action plan to work on modifying any negative beliefs or behaviours you have noticed.
You may be surprised how effective this type of activity can be. I encourage you to give it a try. Here are the questions:
1. Was I kind to my family members in my voice, my actions, and my presence? How so?
2. Did I uphold the boundaries so that everyone in the family was respected? How or how not?
3. Did I listen to my family members and really try to understand where they are coming from? If so, why? If not, why not?
4. Did my love get through to my child today in a way they understood?
5. What beliefs, attitudes and/or behaviours am I bringing to my current life situation that may have originated from my past?
If you got something out of thinking about these questions and digging a bit deeper into your own role in the challenges you currently face at home, I highly recommend getting a copy of Rebecca’s workbook as it will help you go systematically through a great many common challenges parents face. I was recently gifted a copy and think it’s a wonderful addition to any parenting toolbox. It’s full of insights, practical tools and heartfelt advice that modern day parents will greatly benefit from.
If you are wondering how positive parenting can be applied on a daily basis, check out The Positive Parenting Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Strengthening Emotional Connection.
Do you have any particular reflection question or practice you use to improve your parenting?
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